Album Review: PARADISE LOST The Plague Within
What's to be said about doom that hasn't been said yet? The genre is finally getting its day in the sun and the popularity of it has sparked several good bands and plenty of forgettable ones. Nevertheless, we'll likely be seeing this for the next year or two before genres tend to latch themselves more onto something else and get carried away with that. However, there's always those bands that are so rooted in the genre that their expression within the genre confides is really as natural as the movement of a hand.
Pushing their fourteenth album since their formation in 1988, Halifax, England's Paradise Lost are one of the godfathers of doom. Their album catalog is something a Sears holiday catalog would do a double take at. The band's release calender has only been silent for five years since '88. And after almost thirty years of writing tunes, Paradise Lost are only gaining momentum with The Plague Within.
The Plague Within weeps with the ails of a thousand screaming souls. To call this album tormented would be an understatement. Every element is drenched in a gothic darkness that grips at your ankles and crawls into your ear. The opener “No Hope in Sight” conjures up some energy with a catchy guitar lead. The rough throat and singing of Nick Holmes (also: Bloodbath) works into the mix after a few moments. The song is like a declaration, a warning of the future endeavors you're about to embark on. Because after this the abyss awaits.
It's somewhere between the gorgeous “An Eternity of Lies” and “Victim of the Past” that a ghostly cold should be catching onto you; huffing down your neck, stalking you in the dark. The Plague Within is haunting on all levels but never has to sacrifice a thing to keep its mood. When Paradise Lost pick up the tempo and punch with a harder sound (see sections of: “Victim of the Past”) they lose nothing. When they take to the melodic, they are like a choir of ghosts. The whole album builds itself like the most luxurious haunted house. There's real soul violence here but every sound and sight to behold is marvelous.
Does the haunt ever grow faint though? There are moments in the album that fall a little short and shy. Though Paradise Lost have a stronger passion for atmosphere over aggression, the band pulls off its moodiness on almost all levels. As I've already stated, you never lose the haunted mansion feel. And the band often feels truly carnivorous. There are small moments here and there that can take you out of the mood for a few moments here or there. Most notably “Beneath Broken Earth” is the guiltiest of this. Though the track is good overall, its slowest moments are really the only forgettable ones on the album. Does it deter from the overall mood of the album though? Hell no.
We're halfway through 2015 and if you haven't been impressed by a doom record yet then it's time you got a hold of The Plague Within. Its the kind of album that resonates with you long after it's done. And it keeps you coming back time and time again. Paradise Lost have put out possibly their strongest release ever. This album broods and builds more with each subsequent listen. And each time you feel a little more entangled in its web.
As always, you can find me here.